Area law enforcement personnel were updated on the newly-formed Municipal Intervention Court for the city of Indianola during February’s Mid Delta Law Enforcement Coalition Luncheon held at the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center.
Sunflower Police Chief Bobby Walker was the host for this month’s luncheon and invited the Honorable Kuykendall Horne-Murry, advocate and judge for the local court to make a presentation that focused on the goals of the program and its makeup.
She told the area chiefs and the sheriff that the major objectives of the intervention court is to reduce recidivism and provide long-term treatment to reduce substance abuse and bring about an effective change in a participant's life.
That is to be accomplished by rehabilitating him or her and addressing the underlying issues in their lives, among which are poverty, mental health, education and unemployment.
Horne-Murry asserted that a person can be introduced into the program in two ways, either diverted from a traditional court prior to pleading guilty to a criminal charge or by pleading guilty and having their sentence suspended or deferred while in intervention court.
A successful graduate of the program can have their underlying charge expunged or dismissed and the sentence can be reduced or set aside; however, an unsuccessful attempt diverts the participant into a traditional court for processing.
Horne-Murry emphasized that the first goal of the program is treatment so the participant can become clean and sober. "The city of Indianola is fortunate to have partnered with Life Help, the Denton House in Greenwood and the Darden Center in Greenville for residential and outpatient treatment," she said.
Once a participant is deemed clean and sober, the intervention court will also include random and frequent drug testing, required frequent court appearances, immediate rewards and incentives for success and immediate sanctions for failure to meet obligations.
Plus, individualized case management services that address employment, education, counseling and other services that the participants require will also be provided.
Horne-Murry said the Indianola Court received immense support from state intervention teams, local elected officials and the community as a whole.
In addition, the court has also partnered with local nonprofits and civic organizations and churches to help with wraparound services such as traditional housing, clothing, counseling and other vital services.
Additionally, Horne-Murry mentioned to the law enforcement officials that the court has also partnered with Mississippi Delta Community College and Dickey Scruggs' Second Chance organization out of Oxford so the participants can receive a GED and/ or training towards a trade.
In addition to her duties with intervention court, Horne-Murry also serves as the municipal court judge for five towns within the county and ascribes that as what helped her arrive at seeing the need for an alternative to the traditional court system.
"My team and I are looking forward to joining the other intervention courts in our state and making a difference by giving others in our community an opportunity to rebuild their lives in a positive way," she said.